Sunday, September 30, 2007

Top Ten Things Heard On Swindon's Buses Last Week ; 22

Click here for the original and still the best at this brilliant idea, here's our own version for Swindon's buses from last week.

10 . Can I have a cigarette?

9 . Bugger it.

8 . I take it no-one's found the body yet?

7 . They're not going to do those bus changes now, not that they were going to bother me.

6 . Doesn't look like they're here yet, I'll make a run for it before they turn up.

5 . I found a hair clip in my laundry basket, he can't tell me his sideburns have got that long, he's lying.

4 . No, it gets called a Renault McCann, but you told it wrong.

3 . If he does call an election, I won't be here to vote, worse luck.

2 . I believe him, but I'm not sure for how long.

And the top ten overheard phrase from Swindon's buses last week, according to our office's tealady is...

1 . Doesn't matter how many times I told her, she insisted you spell 'hot' with an 'a', since she's a PA I shudder to think what the letters she sends out are like.

Overheard something we missed? Been told about a conversation that was far more juicy? If so, let us know.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Fresh Air Theft Makes Front Page ; Real News Shoved To Page 50

For the sake of an attention grabbing headline the Swindon Beaver Herald has placed it's real news on the backburner this Friday.

It led with a story about how a gang have been seen in Regent Circus at midnight every night for the past week collecting Swindon fresh air in decorative 250 gram boxes.

"We have reason to believe that these individuals are selling this Swindon fresh air on the black market. The latest craze to follow on from bottled water is container based fresh air."

That comment from Officer Martin Pete of the Wiltshire Constabulary.

There were various puns about police getting their breath and the sweet smell of air, but we won't repeat them here.

Swindon Centric Says ; The real stories buried in the centre of the paper included the eruption of the Swindon volcano called Bertha, but you'll know all about that by now.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Swindon's Most Wooden ; Wanted Dead Not Alive

The repaving of Wharf Green is still happening, with the trees that were chopped down not to be wasted.

The council has told us they are to use the lumber to produce an art installation.

Indeed, council leader Roderick Bluh said "these artists have come up with a really imaginative way to use the wood".

Swindon Centric Says ; We're sure nature had a far more original use for the wood, in trees, which everyone liked, before they were cut down.

Panic Over ; Demons & Bad Journalism Not A Threat To Town

We at the Swindon Centric Blog pride ourselves on the level of our journalistic standards and therefore feel stupid and cheap when we fail to live up to those levels.

Yesterday's headline 'Demons Invade Haydon Wick, Exterminators Called In' should have included a different word to 'demons', that word being 'midges'.

We'd like to say sorry for any readers who thought this was a piece of accurate reporting and to those who were caught in the stampede to their church, St Johns and any brusing that occurred.

Swindon Centric Says ; Could have been worse, I mean at least we didn't type volcanoes by mistake or anything as silly as that.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Wheelie Wheelie Against The Bins

The residents of Broadgreen have launched a petition against the introduction of wheelie bins in their area.

Despite assurances, one resident visited by a Waste Warden does not want a bin, as with other locals, she says there just is not enough space for them.

The resident in question was asked whether she would consider sharing a bin with a neighbour, which seems sensible and an effective solution to some people having little space. Her response ; "No way".

Swindon Centric Says ; You can't really blame the council for missing some streets collections of recycling, wheelies and green sacks when residents have negative attitudes to any sort of change. Its recycling karma Swindon.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Top Ten Things Heard On Swindon's Buses Last Week ; 21

Click here for the original and still the best at this brilliant idea, here's our own version for Swindon's buses from last week.

10 . I thing we're holding, yes, we're holding.

9 . She looks like a milkmaid in that dress.

8 . For a man of his years I'd agree with you.

7 . Come round and give it a pull.

6 . He started talking over me, but I don't know what he was saying, I wasn't listening.

5 . They have a big variety, I was really surprised.

4 . He said he had a great time, otherwise he'd just have been sat in eating chocolate digestives and watching CSI.

3 . Last time I saw him he had far less hair.

2 . This definitely rings a bell.

And the top ten phrase overheard on Swindon's buses last week is...

1 . Have you heard the joke about the McCanns and Renault's new car? I really can't repeat it here.

Have you overheard something we missed last week? If so, let us know.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Council's 200 Jobs To Be 'Reassigned', Not Lost

Swindon Borough Council is to cut 200 jobs from it's workforce because it's become so efficent.

That's one of the reasons. Our council has become so efficent, it is run so smoothly and meets all it's targets, it has to shed people because they are just wasteful to employ.

And the other reason?

As a part of any well run organisation, they said they have a responsibility to "challenge costs".

Swindon Centric Says ; So when those 200 get their P45s, they can say they were not made redundant, they have had their employment 'reassigned', because, not of cost cutting, but of a 'cost challenge'.

Isn't the age of spin, post-Blair meant to be over? Seems it hasn't reached the Civic Offices yet.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Towering Inferno ; Burnt Victoria Sponge Causes Panic In Town

In a quiet news day and call-out day for our emergency services, a jam and cream victoria sponge caused much drama earlier today.

Mrs Peggy Trellis of Northwick Park Avenue, Victoria Road had just put in a cinnamon flavoured sponge cake to bake at 11.30am, but got distracted by some slugs on her pumpkins in her back garden.

" I'd been busy all morning and just thought I'd take a break in the garden for twenty minutes while the cake rose in the oven. I started clearing some slugs from round our vegetables and got so engrossed I lost track of time. The next thing I knew I heard a helicopter, blue flashing lights went passed and there was a cloud of smoke coming out of the oven.

A cloud of toxic-sweet smelling cinnamon from the burnt cake drifted over Old Town casting a shadow all over the Kingshill Road area. At one point nosey parkers reported the cloud was visible from the International Space Station, on Google Earth satellites and Wootton Bassett.

" We get called to this type if incident once a year on average, so taking no chances we rolled out all our equipment." Chief fire officer, Sam Samuels.

Fireman Sam reported they had not overreated by sending seven appliances, one with a big ladder on the roof, three sets of cutting gear and two inflatable rescue boats.

He added all equipment was used, though he admitted the two rescue boats struggled for space next to Japanese Koi in Mrs Trellis' ornamental pond.

Swindon Centric Says ; Thinking of making fairy cakes with the kids on the weekend? Don't take the risk.

PS - The cutting equipment was used to divide up the unburnt cake, which was shared round to tired firemen and neighbours. After tea was served the street was shut, a piano was brought out and a rendition of 'Roll Out The Barrel' kicked off a street party which is expected to go on late into the night.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Swindon Clicks ; Custard Costs Top Letter Writers Worry Woes

The results of our latest user interactive interface are in and have been counted via the office casio calculator.

By a majority of 60%, voters want the next important subject of the local Swindon Beaver Herald's letters page to be the alarming rising cost of custard.

Other options on the vote were discussion of the town's nuclear defence shield and the major fault line, which scored 20% of the vote each.

Swindon Centric Says ; We'll have a week long 'cut the cost of custard' campaign launching tomorrow, unless some more exciting news breaks before we can publish it, such as a nuclear strike, or the big earthquake central Swindon is predicted to suffer before the end of the year.

Town Centre Teaching ; UWE Heads For North Star

After just a short period of quiet, the University Of The West Of England has signed an agreement with the Council to draw up detailed plans for a campus at North Star.

The site will cater for up to 3000 students, with strong ties to local, Swindon based businesses.

Swindon Centric Says ; Some have said this campus wouldn't be 'big university' sized, compared to other places. Perhaps Swindon could set a new trend, with a half a dozen universities with small campuses in the town?

Swindon ; Striving to be different?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Top Ten Things Heard On Swindon's Buses Last Week ; 21

Click here for the original and still the best at this brilliant idea, here's our own version for Swindon's buses from last week.

10 . If our recycling box isn't collected soon, the newspapers inside them will be historic.

9 . You can't beat a bit of cheddar.

8 . Oops a-daisy!

7 . If I sit on the sunny side, I'll end up looking like Judith Charmers.

6 . You never see any birds in our garden, except a couple of blue tits, when it's cold.

5 . You can't win if you don't buy a ticket.

4 . I was reading that premium bonds are the biggest con going.

3 . He's crashed another car, can we say he's cursed?

2 . It's one-fifty for a single now, daylight robbery with a person wearing a namebadge.

And the top ten overheard phrase on Swindon's buses last week, as voted for by hundreds of the Swindon Centric office staff is...

1 . Just because the bank's given me two credit cards doesn't mean they are any more responsible than me.

Think that these are rather tame? Think that you can do better? Let us know.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Council Gets Forgetful ; Could Be Sign Of Early Onset Stupidness

A bus stop in Toothill has been half-finished for two months after it seems being dug up by a group of workman, then forgotten about.

The Council responded by saying they had no record of work on the site but that they would send someone to look at it.

Swindon Centric Says ; Whoever is responsible for it being left, surely anyone from the Council has driven, walked or rode past it in the last two months and noticed an unsafe footpath, which any responsible employee would report, especially if it's left with no progress or sign of works?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Town Man Worried About ID Theft Has Name & Picture Printed In Paper

A man who's worried about identity theft from a financial firm he had dealings with has made sure no-one finds out more about him than is needed.

He's had his name, picture and name of the company published in the local newspaper.

Swindon Centric Says ; But, since we all know how bad their spelling is, they've probably got his name wrong, so he might be alright!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Swindon Olympics 2012 - Back The Bid

Lord Seb Coe visited Swindon today to try and make the rest of the UK feel less left out of the mostly London 2012 Olympic Games.

He said people didn't realise quite how close Swindon is to London. Clearly, Brunel must have known, when placing the works here, just how far it was from London.

Councillors lapped up the visit of a celeb to the town, just the sort of thing that makes them for a change feel like they're involved in national politics and events.

Swindon Centric Says ; Unless the East side of Swindon is marked out with white paint as the far end of the long-jump sandpit, the link Swindon will have to the 2012 games will be the people travelling to see it in the capital. Get ready Great Western, book your seat now Olympic rail-goers!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Ugly Baby Competition Launched ; Town Full Of Ugly Tots

In a counter to a rival publication's launch of their 'Baby Of The Year' competition, the Swindon Beaver Herald has opened voting for the Swindon Ugly Baby Competition 2007.

" We felt too much time is being given over to good looking, beautiful people, especially bonny babies, so after a glass or three at our local we hit upon a smashing idea, an ugly baby competition." That comment from the editor of the Swindon Beaver Herald, Perry White, who shall be going home slightly worse for wear by taxi.

Voting opened at 11am this morning and the receptionist, Jan at the SBH HQ was quickly overwhelmed, with the phone and computer system logging 756,000 calls and votes via their website before it crashed at 2.32pm.

Cub Reporter Jimmy Olsen commented on the demand to vote by saying "clearly there's a lot of ugly looking babies in Swindon".

One member of medical staff in the maternity area of healthcare within Swindon was reported as saying "we have to tell new parents how lovely their new baby is day-in-day-out, but really, some of them look like they've been sniffing lemons for nine months."

Swindon Centric Says ; How ugly and vile is your baby? Vote Now!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Bread Shortages As Hoarding Pensioners Stock Up On Big Baps

We're getting details of a developing story tonight concerning several important ingredients; big baps, yeast and old people.

Shortages of bread began to be reported from 10.30 onwards this morning. Gradually, everywhere had been eaten out by early afternoon, there was a slight lull while those panic buying went home to watch Diagnosis Murder. Eventually the last place left, Sainsbury's Bridgemead, with stocks of organic wholemeal tins ran dry at 3.19pm.

" They swept through, like a tornado, a tornado that picks up bread and queues, pays for it, then dashes for the bus home. This store had 1.3 tonnes of bread products this morning and now we've been cleared out, by pensioners". That quote from Marcus Skelton, store manager at Tesco's at Ocotal Way.

Pensioners throughout the town are thought to have been the only ones to have read the middle business sections of their weekend papers, so reading the stories about bread price rises, thus prompting this morning and afternoon's well organised and polite townwide, yeast based, madness.

Tell The Truthiness ; There really is only one comment to make on a story such as this ; crumbs!

PS - There was one late dash at 4.35 this afternoon when a rumour spread that a lorry load of milk-loaf had been delivered to the Old Town Co-Op. One 23 year old shelfstacker had to be taken to the Great Western Hospital after being buried under 47 packets of fruit scones in the melee. He is being treated for high levels of baked goods in his system. A spokesman said his condition remains soft, delicious and fruity.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Top Ten Things Heard On Swindon's Buses Last Week ; 20

Click here for the original and still the best at this brilliant idea, here's our own version for Swindon's buses from last week.

10. I'd rather stay in one place than go from pub to pub.

9. There's rugby on this weekend, I have no idea really.

8. They say it'll be an indian summer, foreigners get everything nowhere days.

7. The Mum didn't appear very upset on TV, makes you wonder.

6. Do you like my shoes, they're not old, I've just never worn them.

5. He has the stiches out Thursday, I'm thinking on slipping the doctor a tenner to keep them in for another week, I've got use to the peace and quiet.

4. Here's to a worse series of Big Brother next year, with stranger people than ever, it could be us.

3. They keep shutting the road to do work, they need the space to sit in their van and eat lunch.

2. You cannot quote me on that.

And now is the number one phrase overheard on Swindon's buses from last week...

1. So Dyson might build his design school in Swindon, well that would not suck, since they're bagless I mean.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

What's The Work At Wharf Green?

With work due to start this week on the first area to be redeveloped in the much hyped New Swindon Company managed regeneration, we'd like to ask something.

Exactly what is going to be different at Wharf Green than what went before?

You'll recall there use to be a vast green area, poorly maintained that was taken up, mature trees and all and tarmaced over. Since the original plan of a climbing wall on the Brunel carpark was dropped the only real change is the big screen TV to be hung from the car park, facing down Canal Walk. In the picture above there is what looks like windmills on top of the carpark, not talked about before anywhere that we can remember.

Swindon Centric Says ; There'll be some additional flower and shrub beds, new flooring, but it's not really much? We're not trying to put a negative spin on this, it's good that work is to begin, but surely flooring and greenery are 'finishing off' that should happen once big construction work has finished?

PS The New Swindon Company website is vague about details for Wharf Green, do you know more? Let us know.

Parents March Kids To Police Station, This Is Not A Made Up Headline

Two teenagers spotted by CCTV repeatedly defacing a wall in Rodbourne with graffiti have been marched down to Gablecross Police Station, by their parents.

As utterly satisfying as this headline and story is, it doesn't happen very often, so allow Swindon Centric to wallow in it.

Swindon Centric Says ; Aaah, justice is sweet, especially when it's done in such an embarassing manner involving your parents. If we can just work on getting the head of the Wiltshire Constabulary to be the character Rowan Atkinson plays in The Thin Blue Line...

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Town's Letter-Writers Shocked At Change In Unoffical Rules

The regular writers to the letters page of the Swindon Beaver Herald have been shocked (shocked to the same degree a character in Midsomer Murders would be if they admitted on the village green that the cake they baked for the cricket match was bought from Somerfields) at the publication of a letter breaking their 'unwritten rules'.

Mr James Anderson, of Mountford Crescent, Nythe, wrote a letter about the phasing of traffic lights at the junction of Farnsby Street and Farringdon Road, breaking some ancient rules which all those submitting to the page adhere to.

" Everyone knows the subjects of the letters have to be limited to moaning about recycling collection/council tax/young people with or without hoods/graffiti/illegal immigrants/legal immigrants/out of work mothers/out of work immigrants/out of work mothers who are immigrants/out of work former council recycling collectors who are polish single mums and have entered the country illegally." That comment from Des McArthur, of Clement Atlee Street, Okus. We have edited Mr McArthur's comments due to legal issues, space and bandwith contraints.

" How was I to know what the rules are? Since this is a letters page for people who love to write it's ironic that the rules are unwritten." That comment from a smart-alec Mr Anderson this evening.

Swindon Centric Says ; We hear Mr Anderson has sent another letter talking about the price of Cornish pasties throughout Swindon. How will the town's literary scene cope?

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Parking Ticket Causes Questions In Parliament, Odd Word Over Garden Fences

Roadworks in Old Town have made parking worse for residents, with some just losing their cool.

Having been misinformed, Keith Angell parked in a one-hour space, overnight, he was then surprised when he went out to work at 6.30am the next morning to have had a ticket placed on his windshield.

He claims the wardens laid in wait for him and it was an ambush.

Swindon Centric Says : They didn't really 'lie in wait' if he parked his car overnight and they were there in the morning at 6.30am giving him a ticket, did they? Or he could just buy a weekly bus ticket and solve his transport problems.

PS - It must have been a very quiet for the wardens as no-one else was reported to have received a ticket on that same day three weeks ago, since Mr Angell is the only one in the local media. If you know of any please email us and we'll have a new daily fifty page section where people can report their stories of cutting themselves shaving, tripping up and eating tomato when you have an allergy to it (causing a good laugh to friends with you at the time).

Monday, September 03, 2007

Top Ten Things Heard On Swindon's Buses Last Week ; 19

Click here for the original and still the best at this brilliant idea, here's our own version for Swindon's buses from last week.

10. That wasn't a Scottish accent, sounded more Italian than anything, especially when you said ciabatta.

9. They all go back to school next week, I can't wait, lets jump in the Tardis and make it happen right now.

8. He called me darling, do I look like a married woman?

7. She's up to something, she was asking about hotel rooms, must be seeing someone else.

6. I wonder if we'll get overheard and put on that website?

5. All he cares about now is his mortgage payment and who's parked in his two allocated spaces.

4. I bought three new pairs of pants, no I didn't try them and no, do not start at me.

3. There he is, owes me fifteen quid, I should go after him.

2. No, I had a bag of wotsits and a tango for breakfast, yes I know, I have perfect taste.

And the one highest rated phrase overheard on Swindon's buses from last week is...

1. She went all the way to Asda in her slippers, I've done that but don't tell anyone.

Think you can do better? Overheard something juicy or with potential to be a right scandal? Let us know.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Double-Standards For Drink-Driving School Governor's Board

The chairman of the governors at Ridgeway School has been banned from driving for 16 months after being caught drink driving.

What's curious however is that despite doing the decent thing and offering his resignation, the board of governors refused to accept it.

As a member of the board says " this doesn't affect his ability to be chairman ".

Swindon Centric Says ; Perhaps it doesn't affect his duties in the day-today running of the board, but it does affect his ability to set an example to impressionable children at a big secondary school and for that reason the board should have accepted his resignation straight away. What are tbey up to?

Double-Decker Scare Politics In The Classroom

The threat of funding being withdrawn or reduced for transporting secondary school pupils to Bradon Forest and Ridgeway has once again sprang up.

This story seems to rear it's head every few years and each time sinks without trace.

Swindon Centric Says ; Council threatens to reduce funding, says how much money is spent each year, says what it could be spent on, then finds it can afford it, by slightly reducing the service, residents breath a sigh of relief and are thankful to their elected representatives.

Sound familiar?

Wasn't this a tactic employed a while back, when there was discussion about the arts funding budget for Swindon?

You want to reduce the budget for something, so you threaten to withdraw all funding, then 'save' it, by a few months later, still cutting the budget as you originally wanted to, but the public thinks you've made huge efforts to address their concerns and save the service from vanishing all together.

Besides, if students all went to Greendown, wouldn't some of those on the fringes of West Swindon still need transport? How would Wiltshire County Council feel about the hugely underused sites at Ridgeway and Bradon Forest?